Planning any trip is exciting, and you’ll likely be full of anticipation for adventure and new experiences. For my husband and I, most of our trips revolve around making sure that we can find the best vegetarian places to eat. And yes, you can say that most of our trips revolve around food and we can’t wait to try out new restaurants and new dishes. Food and travel go hand in hand perfectly, so here are some tips on how to effectively tailor a trip entirely around food.
Use the Internet
Do your research first. While vegan and vegetarian options are becoming more and more popular around the globe, there are some countries and places where you will have to search a little harder, and the foodie sites on the internet are the perfect place to start. You’ll be able to find where to get the best vegan and veggie food instantly, instead of traipsing around somewhere you don’t know, getting hungrier by the second. The Happy Cow is a good website to lsearch on for healthy vegetarian and vegan food places around the World. We used it a lot for when we were travelling in Japan where we didn’t know the language. We felt that if we had a list of vegetarian restaurants in all the cities we were visiting, it would make our travel easier. And it did help. Don’t be surprised if some of these eating places are on the top floors of sky scrappers and a it difficult to find! In Tokyo, we had details of the Natraj restaurant which is a vegetarian restaurant. It took us a while to find the restaurant, even after being dropped of by a taxi, as it was in a high riser and spread across three flours.
Make sure you’re aware of the local delicacies. Research the internet to see if there are any local food tours organised where you are able to walk around a neighbourhood, going into shops and restaurants to try various local dishes and hearing both about the foods, the culture and history of the place. Look for food bloggers who may have written about the food tours they may have been on. This blog post gives details of vegetarian food tours in Old Delhi. This website details the 11 most popular vegan tours around the World.
Before going out to eat in a different country, make sure you know how to behave like a local to avoid upsetting or disrespecting anyone. Slurping and belching are completely acceptable behaviours in Asia, but don’t be doing that in Europe! Also when visiting some traditional restaurants especially in Japan, you may have to sit on the floor whilst eating. And in India, you should not eat with your left hand. It’s best to find out what is acceptable and unacceptable so you don’t update the locals.
Listen to Locals
The locals always know best. Look to see where is packed full of locals and choose to eat there. Even better, if you can speak the language and talk to some other diners about the best places to get specific dishes, they’re usually more than happy to help. Even in London, I like to look through the restaurant window and see if the locals seem to be enjoying the meal. Nowadays, people leave reviews on TripAdvisor with pictures of what they have eaten and their experience. I always like to check these reviews to give me an idea of how the meal would be. I also like to read the reviews of local bloggers.before booking a restaurant. You can also ask the concierge at your hotel or the taxi drivers – both of them will have lots of local knowledge.
Talk to the Chefs
These are the people that really know what they are talking about. If you have especially enjoyed your experience at a specific restaurant, see if the chef has time for a quick chat so you can find out some information about your favourite dishes, how they build the flavours and where they source their products. Also talk to them if you have any dietary requirements. In Japan, we found the chefs really helpful and when we informed that we were vegetarians but did not eat eggs, they were quick to inform us that we could not eat the naan bread as it had eggs. They were very happy to make chapattis for us instead.
While it is good and sensible to have a plan of where you are going, the places you want to eat and the dishes you want to try, don’t be too rigid with your timings and plans. The best discoveries happen when you aren’t quite expecting it. Be flexible and go with the flow, since you never know what you might find. If you see a suitable restaurant on your travels, make a note of it too in case you feel like visiting there. Once when we were on the Isle of Wight, we saw a Thai restaurant during a guided tour. We liked the restaurant and asked our guide about it and decided to go to it that evening and were so pleased to have spotted it.
Let Go of Expectations
People can often let their expectations that have been taken from Western dining culture cloud their judgements when travelling. Leave all expectations behind and take it for the experience it is. So what if you have to wait a little bit longer than usual for your meal – just pass some time on the best casino online instead. A queue outside a restaurant usually means that it is a good place to eat.
Take a Cooking Class
To get a real feel and understanding for the culinary culture of a place, book into a cooking class where you source the ingredients from the local market and have a go at creating some traditional dishes yourself. This website connects travellers with locals.This blog is full of vegetarian and vegan recipes for anyone who wishes to learn. If you are interested in learning to cook vegetarian and vegan meals join my Cookery Classes.
With foodie trips, you want the most authentic experience possible. Be adventurous, don’t be scared to ask questions, talk to the locals and keep your mind open to opportunities to indulge and try something new. Remember, vacations are supposed to be fun so don’t be afraid to go on a little adventure.
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